The Access Initiative is proud to congratulate TAI member Ramesh Agrawal, director of Jan Chetana, on receiving a 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize. Agrawal has worked tirelessly since the 2005 passage of India’s Right to Information Act to hold the coal industry in his home state of Chhattisgarh accountable.
Chhattisgarh contains approximately one fifth of India’s coal reserves, and is already home to numerous large coal mines and processing plants. Residents of the state maintain that the coal industry is responsible for dangerous levels of water and air contamination. However, the political will to control the growth of the coal industry has often been stymied by the financial connections between the coal companies and the politicians themselves. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), a company whose work Agrawal and his local supporters directly opposed, is owned by Naveen Jindal, a member of parliament from the Congress Party.